Wildfire Renders Retired Justice Gladys Johnson Homeless, 7 Bed-Room Burnt Completely

Retired Associate Justice, Cllr. Gladys Johnson

Retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Cllr. Gladys Johnson is now compelled to sleep in the basement of what remains of her shattered two storey seven-bed room house recently devastated by fire.

Retired Justice Johnson’s home on SKD Boulevard, Congo Town was gutted by fire on the night of July 15, 2021.

She jumped out of her bedroom partially naked, when her daughter Bendu alarmed that there is fire in the house.

“I ran across the road and watched my house burnt,” retired Justice Johnson said “I thought I was dreaming.”

That night retired Johnson said she recalled saying “Lord, you mean everything that I own and the memory of our children growing up here, as far back as 1977 is going to go down like this.”

She explained that everything she had in Liberia including three manuscripts she has written and all of her memories like pictures were left in the fire.

“All my certificates, my decoration and pictures from my retirement ceremony performed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf were burnt,” she said.

Justice Johnson was retired as Associate Justice of Supreme Court of Liberia in April 2021.

She said that she has no record right now, except the ones in her head.

Justice Johnson disclosed that her daughter’s Passport and American Green Card were also destroyed by the fire.

She also had US$ 3,000 and an unspecified amount of Liberian Dollar in the house when it burnt.

Another scene of the fire

The retired Supreme Court Justice disclosed that she had just returned from the US Embassy, where she was issued America Visa to enable her seek medical treatment abroad the very day her home burnt.

She dismissed claims by some individuals that she might have done something wrong that led to the burning of her home.

“You know some people will say that it is some of the things that they did; they failed to know that Jesus Christ did nothing and he went through punishment. Job did nothing and he when through crisis, but here in Liberia when bad things happened to people, the first thought is that that person might have done something. You don’t have to do something for bad things to happen to you,” she said.

Retired Justice Johnson however said “I am sorry that this home that we cherish ended up this way. I have no idea why it happened.”

But cautioned, “It is wrong to blame people for their misfortune. Bad things can happen to good people just how good things can happen to bad people.”

“I don’t want them say that I did bad thing that why my house got burnt, because houses got burnt all of the time,” Justice Johnson said in tears.

Retired Justice Johnson said she considers the incident as a test of her faith and said “I am not terribly disturbed. I buried my two sons and I am still here. God will give me the same strengthen to still be here.”

Retired Justice Johnson lauded the Liberia National Fire Service for responding to the fire incident and said she awaits a report from it and the Liberia National Police, which also visited the scene.

In the absence of reports from the Police and Fire Service, some residents are blamed the incident to an arson attack, a claim retired Justice Johnson has dismissed.

At least two neighbors said that they heard explosive sound that night minutes to the fire incident, but the retired Supreme Court Justice said in an interview that only reports from the police and firefighters will determined what caused the fire that night.    

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